Reviewed: May 2020
Released: 2020, Pure Steel Records
The resurgence of what is being referred to as the New Wave Of Traditional Heavy Metal has turned out to be one of metal music’s most triumphant comebacks.
In a churning saga – that has, for over two decades, tried to bury the sort of high concept, rapid fire, swords and sorcery-based elements of the genre with overly sincere, too-cool-for-school, drop tuned aggression – the fashionistas have finally had to yield to the passion and enthusiasm demonstrated by fans of the old order; who, still decked out in denim and leather, proudly continue to fly the flag for a time when heavy metal was defined by an joyous absence of irony and when album sleeves looked like they were lifted from a daydream fantasy sketched on the back of a school book.
Blizzen are tapping into exactly that primal enthusiasm and a love of all things loud and flamboyant. Equal parts thrash, glam and speed metal, they bring enough blood, sweat and beers to ensure World In Chains will appeal to those who enjoy classic dual guitar harmonies, rapid fire drums and good old fashioned head-banging!
What Blizzen do very well is capture the celebratory transition of the working week being set aside for the hedonism of the weekend. World In Chains sounds like a six pack being cracked open in a basement with nothing but a big sound-system and a stack of Judas Priest records to hand. It sounds like the revving of a motorcycle engine just before it screams off down a long open road. It’s fast and obnoxious and it’s not afraid to get dirty.
Indeed, Blizzen’s delivery is not necessarily a smooth one. The talent is there, the musicians have clearly payed their dues and learnt their craft, but this is not a refined sound. Punkish and full of thrash attitude, the band have retained the feel of this being a quick visit to the studio. Get in, set up, blast it out and get out! Each song tumbles along as it would if this were a live performance, and this turns out to be a really effective approach. This might suggest there is a lack of clarity in the production; this is not the case. The guitarists in particular shine with enough melodic flair to get fists triumphantly pumping the air.
In fact, the enthusiastically raised fist is possibly the best metaphor for the overall sound of World In Chains. A fist that is held aloft above a gleefully sweaty and smiling crowd, moments before everybody charges back into the mosh pit for some rough and tumble on the dance-floor.
Play it loud. Horns Up.